Sunday April 14th
Authors(s): Ruth Hayhoe
Source: China quarterly, No. 94 (Jun., 1983), pp. 323-341
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Orient and African Studies
The author Professor Ruth Hayhoe is a specialist in Comparative Education and a Sinologist. From 1997 to 2002 she headed the Hong Kong Institute of Education , and is now Presidente merita. She is also a professor in the Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), where she served from 1986 to 1997, including appointments as Chair of the Higher Education Group and Associate Dean. Before that she held teaching positions at Heep Yunn School in Hong Kong, at Fudan University in Shanghai and at the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education in London, as well as holding a diplomatic post at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing from 1989 to 1991.
Hayhoe starts off explaining that Fudan university became an important continuation of Chinese culture, education and tradition under the new peoples government. The entire article is an explanation and critic of the Chinese educational system that underwent reforms, thus finally giving birth to a university of Fudan that represents the fight to keep Chinese traditions while integrating western and Jesuits teachings.
In the 19 century leaders in China had awakened and realized that in order to revitalize their nation mentally, they need to integrate the western learning in their system. It represented a challenge, because although the Qing government in 1902 adopted an educational system for an overall plan, he did not implement it. In the beginning few universities were founded before 1902 but had a stronger concentration on sciences and military services but was lacking discipline. In 1902 at the university of Nanyang Gonxue a student protest broke out, which led to a foundation in the same year of a few universities, which included Zhendad (a.k.a Aurore), patriotic school. Patriotic schools had much less funding and concentrated more on revolutionary teachings, which always led them to be threatened to a closure of the institution by the government. Schools as the Zhendan was founded by Ma xiangbo who incorporated both elements of revolution and rigorous French Jesuit education, although the first element interferes with the Jesuits teachings. With the west progressing in sciences, Ma's goal was to implement Chinese and western Culture emphasizing sciences and at the same time avoiding disputes with the Jesuits. He set up the university by adding different subjects to be thought, but most importantly was the ability for the Chinese intellectual to speak freely of their political conviction.
Soon after it was well established, Ma asked for the Jesuits to be more involved due to his respect to their teaching qualities. However their involvement created tensions. Ma supported the students revolutionary activities and was ready to set up a front for them in his university, but after the Jesuits took over, due to Ma's illness, they threatened the entire student body to be arrested which led many students who were on Ma's side to reopen another Zhendan by this time naming it Fudan. The Jesuits implemented a very good educational system, in which the scholar had to demonstrate his scholarship in the exercise of broad social, moral and political responsibilities.
Although there were good and bad sides to their system their level of professionalism is undisputed and remained to be the best. The goal of Fudan was to give a wider knowledge to the Chinese students, although it was not always an easy task due to lack of funds and teachers, Ma and people like Li managed to get the support of the Kuomintang. Which a very slow development, Auroras (1st Fudan university) the academic standards were higher than Fudan's according to western cannons. Nevertheless Fudan continued preserving with their slow development. With this rate, it later became a symbol of self sacrifice due to the hard work that was put into it and a symbol of the perpetuation of Chinese tradition.
In the frames of our class we argued that the Jesuits were resented by the Chinese, but in the end it was them who managed to revolutionize China with their teaching they brought with them. Although the Jesuits managed to raise standards at Zhedan, their educational purposes did not always fit with the need of the Chinese situation, and increasing numbers of graduates had to go study abroad. Another problem was that much of the material was not translated in Chinese. If an institution is to be established in a country then it must in a way help its natives, especially when it touches the areas of educations, if their goal is really to educate and to enlighten the Chinese. I find their style is a little bit to authoritarian. Ma's on the other hand, had lower standards due to lack of staff, but he never gave up hope into broaden the knowledge of his Chinese students, by keeping the School alive with teachers, rearrangement subjects. In the end, I find that Ma's standards are what the population needed at first, then if they were to pursue higher standards the students, then they could study at the French university reaching a compromise regarding the acknowledgement of diplomas from Fudan. The importance is that the Universitie's students are what kept the spirit alive and what became a continuation of the tradition of the Chinese teachings. I find it is important for countries like China to find a compromise when it comes to integrating other educational systems but at the same time keeping their old traditions.